Opinion · This Website

It’s Not Flattery, It’s Blood-Sucking Theft.

Last week I ran a giveaway. I gave away copies of the first book of my series. I gave away a thousand of them in exchange for people signing up for my newsletter. A thousand books! That’s more than I’ve sold. And now a thousand people are, I hope, reading What Boys Are Made Of. Maybe they’ll go on to buy the next in the series, maybe they won’t, but that’s a thousand books given away in hope of growth. My gift to those potential lovers of my book.

And while I was busy, one person crept to my blog and stole something from me. They stole a blog post that I put here so everyone could read it. My gift to you. They posted it elsewhere and attempted to make money from it.

I don’t enjoy writing DMCA takedown notices. I don’t enjoy emailing them, or waiting. It’s a waste of my time and effort that I could be putting towards making more blog posts. Or writing. Or finishing book covers. Or formatting. Or the thousand other things that go into running a small business. Even, you know, taking a break and playing cribbage with my family. But I sent the notice and I’m waiting to hear back.

In the meantime, I’m pretty angry. Furious, really. I work very hard on this blog, and I don’t get paid for it. I don’t have advertisements–and if I do, they benefit WordPress, my hosting site, not me–and I don’t actually sell many books through this site, hardly any. I maintain it because I enjoy it.

I do not enjoy having my work stolen.

If you look at my copyright page, you will notice I’ve registered this blog under Creative Commons, as best I can. The copyright I chose means that if you like something here, you are free to reblog it for yourself, so long as you credit me, link back to me, and make it clear that I’m not sponsoring you in any way. You can even use the pictures.

You can’t make money from it, though, because I’m not making money from it. And you know what? When I make money from it, you still can’t. Because it’s my hard work.

You all know this of course, and you would not dream of stealing it. If you’re a regular reader, you come here for amusing posts or rants or the other silliness I churn out on a regular basis. You don’t come here for a cheap buck.

Someone did. And it pisses me off.

Authors frequently have to deal with thieves. People steal ideas, phrases, plots. They steal our books and put them up for free where they have no business being free. We can do little but issue DMCA takedown notices and watch as the borg rises again elsewhere. Mostly, we do nothing. What can we do against fleas drawing blood?

In some ways, having my work stolen was affirmation. Affirmation that someone looked at what I created and saw worth. They thought to themselves, “This post is worth money.”

Not money for me, of course, but for them.

You know what? I can live without that kind of affirmation, that negative compliment. Keep on marching, I’d rather be worth nothing to you.

But that is the problem with being good at what you do; some people don’t like it. They want what you have, and they’re willing to take it. Nevermind the hours, the grief, the tedium, the epiphanies, the sheer effort, no. They want it now.

I’m so tired of that kind of person. I’m sick of them. Someone has more, waah.

Someone always has more. That’s life. Complaining won’t change it. Understanding it, though, might.

I wish I had more readers, so I run promos. I wish I had more published books, so I write more. I wish I had less editing to do, so I improve my first draft skills. I wish, so I do. Little by little, an inch at a time.

Wishes are goals, not a force of nature. You can wish for everything in the world and gain nothing. Wishing will not help you.

Doing does. Trying does. Effort has worth, not for what it achieves, but for how it changes you.

And you know what? Maybe my efforts will go nowhere. Maybe working to sell more books or make a better plot will lead me no further than I’ve gone. Perhaps my business will not earn a penny.

But I’ve still tried. I’ve made something. I’ve done it. Schrodinger has not won my novels, because mine live. And so do I, and many more.

When I see people working to improve their novels, I think the world is getting better for it. That is why I help other writers without asking for exchange. That is why I wish them well and cheer them on. Their efforts show their character, and I want to be around people with such excellent ones.

A thief?

In Terry Pratchett’s books, the biggest sin the elves commit is living in a world that creates nothing. I agree with him. Create, live, do, be. Even if it’s all for naught, you have changed yourself.

Stealing other people’s work just makes you a parasite.

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5 thoughts on “It’s Not Flattery, It’s Blood-Sucking Theft.

  1. That’s awful, so sorry to hear that happened. Thieves are a miserable form of human being. A physical theft is bad enough but theft of intellectual property is a different beast entirely, when you know how much blood, sweat and tears went into producing it. Hope it all gets sorted.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Unfortunately, I’ve also had to deal with plagiarism and outright stealing of my writing that I’ve posted online for others to read and enjoy for free. It sucks. Luckily for me, after issuing the lovely DMCA notice, that site did take my stuff down. Still, it’s the principle of the matter. That was my work, and someone stole it without caring in order to make a petty profit. I was furious.

    I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with this too, because I know how demeaning it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know that! Was it original fiction? I’ve had a couple fan-fiction things stolen way back when, but back then I just went and yelled at them and they took it down, no DMCA involved. Then again I think both the perpetrators and I were about fourteen.

      I’m glad you got that taken care of. Fingers crossed this does too.

      Like

      1. I think I’ve had a fanfic of mine stolen exactly once before, and like you, it was resolved by me calling out the person who took it. Much easier, yes.

        But I’ve also had to deal with some of my original fiction being stolen, by a site that offered short stories for cheap downloading. Interesting that not a single author of those stories had authorized this, or was given credit for their fiction, or was getting paid themselves. The site either shut down or changed their name after they were discovered, but before that they definitely took down my story, and many, many others as well. Basically, every author that found out and called them out on it. I only feel bad for those who might not have discovered their fiction being stolen like that.

        Fingers crossed that your situation gets resolved quickly, yes!

        Like

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